Tuesday, February 18, 2014

East Glisan Pizza Lounge

8001 NE Glisan Street
Happy Hour Wishlist

It's going to be hard driving past East Glisan Pizza Lounge as often as I do. Luckily, I no longer live two blocks away. If that were the case, I'd be in serious trouble. This place would have (and probably still will) become my go to for those nights when I just don't want to cook. And--during the school year--those nights happen more often than I'd like to admit.

East Glisan Pizza Lounge is pretty new and it shows. It's shiny. And there are some kinks that still need to be worked out. I trust that they will improve communication between the bar and the servers, that they will develop a rhythm in the kitchen to keep up with how busy they've already become, and that they will take our suggestion and offer happy hour.

We arrived just in time last Friday to find every single table taken. If only we had waited another hour or so, we wouldn't have had to wait for as long as we did. It seemed as though the entire restaurant had filled and then emptied as one. Or, at least, close to it. The wait wasn't awful, just lengthy. And we were HUNGRY.

After ordering a couple of drinks at the bar, we worked our way to the long counter that lines the front window. Either they are still waiting on additional bar stools OR this is the designated waiting area. I had a hard time deciding on a beverage but ended up choosing the Rosemary Gin Fizz. At East Glisan, they've got a full bar, a few house favorites, wine by the glass or by the bottle, and a rotating selection of draft beer. Even without a discount, the prices aren't bad at all. The cocktails are all priced between seven and eight dollars and even the highest priced glass of wine is only $12.

Once we sat down, we were ready to order. And order we did. (It's dangerous going out to eat after a long day at work AND an excessively long workout. I was well past ready to eat!) We opted for an appetizer of chickpea fritters, a chopped salad to split, and a small pizza each. We requested one large pizza with half of this and half of that but were told no. I'm hoping that will change before too long. It's definitely something that people expect.

The chickpea fritters were crazy delicious but also crazy hot. And I was crazy hungry...so I burned my tongue. Twice. The sauce also carried some heat, but of another variety. These fritters were served with a spicy basil aioli. For six dollars, this item was an excellent starting point and the perfect plate to share.

Made with a mix of greens, cheese, salumi, Mama Lil's peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and tossed with an herb vinaigrette, the chopped salad was a great veggie option and fit nicely in the flavor lineup between the chickpea fritters and the pizza. We ordered ours with the salumi on the side so that we could share. It was a little smaller than I was expecting so next time I might order one all to myself.

Picking the perfect pizza was not easy given the number of veggie options. (And that didn't even include the make-your-own combinations.) I ordered the Broccoli Rapini--made with provolone and topped with lemon--but still want a taste of the mushroom pizza, made with mushrooms, fontina, cream, and roasted garlic. The four cheese pizza also sounds like something I could finish in one sitting. And my husband enjoyed the pepperoni and pesto pie.

I'm excited to have another pizza place in the neighborhood and am eager to get back and try more of what they have to offer.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Nearly Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


East Glisan Pizza Lounge on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tilt - Handcrafted Food and Drink

1355 NW Everett Street
Happy Hour: 3 - 6, daily

I've known since the days of monthly orthodontist visits that I have a big mouth. Burgers and sandwiches piled high with toppings rarely cause much concern. And if you see me take the top off, it's more about the bread-to-filling ratio than making it fit into my wide-open mouth. The Fat Farmer--a cornmeal and panko coated house made veggie patty topped with all the usual burger accompaniments AND about a half an avocado--was more than intimidating. That thing was HUGE. I had to flatten it--not once--but twice to make it more manageable. And even then, I had to set it down in between bites to regain composure before moving on to the next bite. The Fat Farmer is a serious fatty.

Tilt is a place that has been on my Happy Hour To Do list since last Spring Break. At the time, their happy hour was advertised to be available on weekdays only. Now that they have two locations, discounts on drinks are there for the taking seven days a week between 3 and 6 PM.

I love the cafeteria feel and appreciate the pro-union, factory feel and industrial qualities that Tilt has to offer. And I completely adore--probably more than is considered acceptable--that they offer shop towels as opposed to the typical cloth napkins. Smart and oh-so fitting.

Although the discounts during happy hour don't apply to much more than beverages, prices at Tilt aren't overwhelming. Burgers are sold on their own and range between $7 and $13, but sides are available in multiple sizes and you can "make it a meal" to save a couple of bucks. The house recipe sides--including beer battered onion rings, tilted fries with scratch made pork gravy and bacon, and four varieties of handcrafted tots--are definitely hard to pass up.

Discounts on drinks include beer and wine and well drinks but also $2 off all of the house cocktails. I enjoyed a Rose City Sour for just $6. It was made with egg whites (something that I am enjoying more and more) and came garnished with a yummy brandied cherry.

Service is harder to judge at Tilt with their cafeteria-style setup. It's definitely efficient...and really that's what matters more than anything.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


Tilt on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Life of Pie

3632 N Williams Avenue
Happy Hour: 11 - 6, daily

It didn't take long at all for me to return to Life of Pie after the foodbloggers event in December. I already knew that I loved their pizza, that kale salad, the fact that their happy hour lasts from eleven to six every day of the week, and that you can get an over-sized Margherita Pizza and a glass of house red wine for $8. It's more than ideal. And it makes me want to stop buying groceries.

I almost can't believe that happy hour lasts as long as it does. The discounts are limited to beer and wine and the Margherita Pie, but that's all I really need. That, and the kale salad. It's full price...but worth every penny.

With just enough lemony tang, the kale and arugula salad ($7) is one that I will order again and again. It's got great texture but isn't too heavy with extras like some salads can be. This one is green enough to make me feel good about the rest of my meal. I love a good cheese and nut-filled salad, but to start with all that prior to a pile of fresh mozzarella can sometimes be too much. At Life of Pie, they also offer a more traditional green salad ($7 or $4) and a Caesar salad ($9 or $5) in sizes both large and small.

Everything about the pizza at Life of Pie is fresh. Hand-tossed dough, local meats and produce, mozzarella made in-house, and their wood-fired oven make it more than obvious that this place is putting their all into every pie.

I will always order the Margherita--because I love the marinara and the mozzarella--but appreciate the other flavor combinations available. I enjoyed the seasonal mushroom and truffle oil pizza on my last visit and would love to try another bite or two of the caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza. My co-bloggers were most impressed with the fennel sausage pizza topped with Mama Lil's peppers, but my husband couldn't resist the meatball and ricotta combination. They've got plenty of toppings to choose from if you prefer to make your own, and then there's the featured pie--currently a combination of bacon, goat cheese, and oven-roasted leeks.

The menu at Life of Pie includes more than just pizza and salads. They've got a number of appetizers--including a delicious plate of Arancini stuffed with both ricotta and mozzarella, spaghetti--on its own or topped with either fennel sausage or house-made meatballs, and dessert.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds


Life of Pie on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 07, 2014

Growlers Hawthorne

3343 NE Hawthorne Boulevard
Open: 12 - 8, daily

I'm not a big beer drinker, but I recognize that almost everyone else is. For me, it's a little too bubbly, a little too hoppy, and it hits my nose too fast to really enjoy what I'm tasting. But that's me. The majority of the Portland population LOVES beer. A LOT. And that's why a growler fill station is perfect for the people of Portland.

Sure, you can fill a growler (or two) at your favorite local brewery. There are so many to choose from. And, yeah, you can stop at New Season's or places like the Hawthorne Hophouse for a broader selection. But with places like that you might also be tempted to sit down for a meal or feel obligated to spend time stocking up on groceries. At Growlers Hawthorne, you can get in and out with a full growler for a fair price in minutes. That is, of course, if you know what you want.

For those that are not already set on a certain selection, Growlers Hawthorne offers forty taps to choose from. And they have what seems like an endless stockpile of compostable sample cups to help you find what's right for the night. On tap last we checked were favorites from Fort George, Oakshire, Terminal Gravity, Spire Mountain, Hop Valley, Barley Brown's, and Burnside Brewing Company.

Included on the list of forty are three hard ciders, one mead, and always at least one organic beer (which is easy to spot with its green handle). They also have root beer and Brew Dr. Kombucha available in a separate kegerator.

Growlers Hawthorne will continue to celebrate their grand opening with "Meet the Brewers" events tonight with Firestone Walker Brewery from 5:30 - 7:30 PM and on Saturday from 3:30 - 6:30 PM with Pelican Pub & Brewery. We made it in during the first of the events with the Brewers from Fort George but might return on Saturday to sample Pelican's root beer (served as a float, thanks to the people of Tillamook) and to fill the now-empty growler.


The Knock Back

2315 NE Alberta Avenue
Happy Hour: 4 - 6, daily

The Knock Back opened on NE Alberta at 23rd in late September, just in time to catch the last of the sunny no-need-for-a-jacket summer evenings. They have the perfect fire pit and plenty of outdoor seating--that is not exactly ideal for today's snow day--but will make for a prime spot once the warm temperatures return.

Happy Hour is offered daily from 4 until 6 and includes discounts on food and drinks. The food menu is fairly lengthy so you will be likely to find one or two (or three or four) items that will make you want to come back for more.

On a day like today, I'm certain that they would run out of the makings for their grilled cheese and tomato basil soup. This sandwich is ooey-gooey and filled with three cheeses, making it about ten times better than anything I've ever made at home. Grilled to perfection, the mix of cheddar, gruyere, and campagnolo cheese seeps out from between the two slices of bread just enough to get those delicious little crunchy cheese edges that I love so very much.

The fried brussels sprouts might take the edge off the uber-healthy vegetable--especially if you are one to usually say no--as the little green cruciferous buds seem more like a snack food when fried and less like something your momma made you eat. (Not my momma, though. She hated brussels sprouts.) The salt--and the snackability--made this plate seem more and more like popcorn with each bite.

Popcorn is available on the menu, too. For just a buck you can get a bucket of popped corn covered with smoked paprika, cumin, nutritional yeast and a little olive oil.

Although the name might not be too appealing, the Bad Breath Salad is chock-full of delicious veggies including kale, cabbage, cucumber, and radish. The garlic and ginger finish off the flavor and add what must be the stink that they are referring to. I didn't find it to be too offensive at all.

The discounts on drinks are hefty and include all sorts of options, too. They've got the basic--beer, wine, and well drinks--but also a bottle of bubbly for just twelve bucks, a margarita for $6, or the daily punch for only four dollars. With a price so low, I wasn't expecting the punch to arrive in a pint glass. I was certainly impressed. It won't be the same drink with each visit, but the price will still bring me back for more.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds


The Knock Back on Urbanspoon